Oakland

Over just a couple of years, this Bay Area city has become a hub for some of the coolest independently owned boutiques.


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Atomic Garden

A collection of ramshackle antiques lends an old-world feel to this clothing and design shop devoted to all things eco-friendly. We especially love the hand-screened cotton slipdresses and Coe & Waito's raw porcelain vases.
5453 College Ave., 510-923-0543

August

A prime resource for on-the-cusp fashion, this gallery-ish spot is known for carrying arty, streamlined pieces from the likes of Martin Margiela and Kristensen du Nord—and the sales staff couldn't be friendlier.
5410 College Ave., 510-652-2711

Drift

The denim-centric inventory here includes a bit of everything—high-waisted styles, super-skinny stovepipes—all meticulously picked from lines like Rag & Bone, Cheap Monday, 18th Amendment, and Kasil.
815 Washington St., 510-444-8815

Five Ten Studio

Inside this minimalist, architect-owned shop in downtown Oakland you'll find scores of awesomely unconventional housewares. The aesthetic falls someplace between futuristic and organic, including honeycomb-shaped stools made out of kraft paper and a high-backed armchair covered with jet-black feathers.
831 Broadway, 510-451-9900

Maribel

Bargain hunters flock to this consignment shop for its gently used garments by contemporary designers. On a recent visit, we saw a current-season A.P.C. shawl-collar cardigan ($75) and an irresistibly lovely Antik Batik silk floral top with a sequined neckline ($55).
3251 Lakeshore Ave., 510-419-0677

McMullen

The emphasis at this North Oakland newcomer is dresses, from Robert Rodriguez's romantic ruffled shifts to body-skimming wraps by Diane von Furstenberg. A few choice separates (like Gryphon's infinitely wearable trench coats) round out the mix.
4395 Piedmont Ave., 510-420-6906

Mignonne

It's packed from floor to ceiling with girly bits of decor—fleur-de-lis glasses, hand-cut soaps from Marseille, and ticking-stripe table runners—yet Mignonne never feels cutesy: It delivers vintage Parisian charm spun in the most elegant way.
1000 Jefferson St., 510-444-5288

Twenty Two Shoes

With stock entirely composed of the house brand of stunning, Italian-made footwear, this is a highly satisfying place to get items both flirty (embellished flats) and slick (sexy knee-high boots).
5856 College Ave., 510-594-2201

Verse

Owner Tyranny Allen, a former member of legendary hip-hop band Digital Underground, is wildly successful in his mission to carry only the best limited-edition sneakers (like Nike Air Force Ones in cherry red satin).
461 Ninth St., 510-663-4400